“Blood Service Is Bleeding”

The IWW is launching a second phase in its campaign to reverse closure decisions to much of the infrastructure which makes up England’s National Blood Service.
While NBS bosses plan to close 10 blood centres with a loss of over 600 jobs, it is becoming increasingly clear that the unpopular plans are very far from a ‘done deal’.

National Blood Service staff have been in industrial dispute with the NBS board of directors/management for the past year, over reconfigurement plans which will see local processing and testiong sites condensed into just three ‘supercentres’ in Bristol, Manchester and Colindale. This would mean that blood collections will have to be driven hundreds of miles around the country to and from ‘supercentres’, putting even more reliance on an already clogged up motorway network. Testing centres are currently located in Oxford, Bristol, Southampton, Tooting, Colindale, Liverpool, Newcastle, Cambridge, Sheffield and Leeds.

UNISON and Unite (Amicus) have expressed their concerns over the cuts to the service, but typically their response has been lacklustre to mobilise nationally to oppose the measures. As a result of the firm stance taken by the IWW against the closures however, a number of staff have become increasingly close to the union, with a new job branch for the wobblies (IWW) being formed within the service, and sympathy for the IWW’s class struggle stance known to be growing rapidly.

The IWW has distributed around 55,000 leaflets, and spent many hours building public support for the campaign. It does not aim to stop here however.

“We’ve hit dozens of sites across the country, and we’ve helped to distribute over 5000 workplace bulletins, but this is only the begining!” comments Nick James, an IWW organiser involved with the campaign.

“We are going to hit these NBS bosses so hard they won’t know what’s come at them,” he finished.

The IWW is aiming to try and build for mass mobilisations targeting those in political office, in a bid to force a rethink. Pointing out that bosses in the blood service are not the board of a private firm but a quango accountable ultimately to the government, wobblies believe with a strong campaign to put pressure on the Health Secretary, the closure plans will be overturned.

“We are confident of victory. We’re going to unleash a whirlwind here. They are just not going to know what’s hit them,” James continued.

For further information on the Save Our Blood Service Campaign, what the closure plans will mean for you, or how you can help to stop the closures, visit the website of the staff campaign, http://www.nbs-sos.blogspot.com, or see the blog of the IWW NBS section, http://www.iwwnbs.wordpress.com.

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